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A Good Book Undone

December 24, 2012

Politics has undermined a look of good things in this country recently, but I never thought I’d accuse it of ruining a perfectly good book.

I guess it’s not the politics, but rather  author David Brooks, who I should blame for my disappointment in his exploration of what he calls our ‘revolution in consciousness.’

Brooks attempts to meld fiction and science by explaining  advances in neuroscience, genetics, psychology, sociology and economics through the real lives of two fictional characters. He follows them  from conception to death explaining to us what’s really going on both consciously and sub-consciously.

Anyone who has read the current literature on neuro-psychology, behavioral economics or social theory will be familiar with the concepts, but Brooks does a nice job of translating the theories into real life.

Brooks, who is a New York Times columnist, write in a clear and linear style like may journalists, and his work is both believable and entertaining.

His biggest problem is his detour into politics. While Brooks is known for his conservative views, they are not the problem. My issue is with the method. The female character Brooks creates overcomes a poor childhood to excel in school and career. There is no inkling that she has slightest interest in politics but then suddenly at the height of her corporate career, she is named the head of a national presidential campaign, which lands her a job in the White House. Her husband takes a job in a Washington ‘think tank’ and becomes the mouthpiece for Brook’s views about governing, politics and the American political system.

Just in case you weren’t sure what he was doing, the charcater emphasizes that the only person who agrees with him is an ‘unnamed’ New York Times columnist.

The whole chapter seems contrived and out of place and detracts from the excellent work Brooks does to bring both his characters and scientific theory to life.

Despite this flaw Brooks work is very readable and is an easily understandable look at the science. Especially outstanding is his look at death and dying on the final pages.

So, you can skip chapters 19 and 20 if you don’t want to let politics ruin a good read, but certainly the other 20 chapters are well worth your time.


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The Week in Review

December 9, 2012

Filed under: Hawaii,Health,Jim Levy,Journalism,observations,Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — admin @ 8:25 pm

Jim Levy, AKA Jimmy The Kid, writes a weekly summary of the news based on his radio show in Sonoma, CA.

The column includes links to listen to his show, as well as a great recap (with commentary) of what’s going on in the world.

I’m a semi-regular on the show so I thought I’d start posting his newsletter on my blog so everyone could benefit from his wisdom. If you want to get the newsletter on a regular basis drop him a note at .

Click here to download the newsletter as a PDF file;

This week 12_9

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